The BBC has been blocked from naming a supposed MI5 agent who exploited his position as a spy to abuse his partner.
The high court have ruled that naming the man would create a “real and immediate” risk that he would be killed or injured.
Attorney General Suella Braverman applied for an injunction to prevent the identification of the spy, known as X, which was planned to feature in a BBC story.
Whilst the Attorney General neither confirmed nor denied whether X was an MI5 agent, she argued he would be put at risk if the story was to go live with his details.
Braverman also argued that it would threaten national security by making people less likely to work as agents moving forward.
Meanwhile, the BBC rejected the argument that revealing his name would put him at risk or deter people from becoming agents.
Responding to the judgment, a BBC spokesperson said: “This is not the judgment we had hoped for, but it is important to understand what it does and does not mean.
” While the judgment prevents the BBC from identifying X (by showing his picture or naming him) it does not prevent the BBC from reporting key elements of the story, which we will do once the precise restrictions are determined. We expect these restrictions to be clarified next week.”
Though the broadcaster lost the case, the judge did recognise it as a significant interference with the BBC’s right to freedom of expression and the right of the public to be informed about the story.